On 22 January 1785, Mozart’s father, Leopold, wrote from Salzburg to his daughter, Nannerl, retelling the news ‘that last Saturday (Wolfgang) performed his six quartets [in truth probably just KV 387, 421 and 428] for his dear friend Haydn and other good friends and that he has sold them to Artaria for a hundred ducats’.
The final four works of the set are recorded here by leading members of the Vienna Philharmonic. The Musikverein Quartet, first came together in 1973 as the Küchl Quartet and made their Decca recording début at the Sofiensaal in December 1975 with Mozart’s KV 499 and KV 589. Led by the then junior VPO concertmaster Rainer Küchl (born 1950), the group was soon given the Barylli Quartet’s old title of Wiener Musikverein Quartett which it holds to this day.
Both, KV 428 and KV 464 receive their first international release on CD.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
String Quartet No. 16, KV 428*
String Quartet No. 17, KV 458 ‘The Hunt’
String Quartet No. 18, KV 464*
String Quartet No. 19, KV 465 ‘Dissonance’
Rainer Küchl, violin I
Peter Wächter, violin II
Peter Götzel, viola
Franz Bartolomey, cello
* FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD
Recording Producer: Andrew Cornall
Recording Engineers: Stanley Goodall, Peter Cooke
Recording Location: Rosenhügel, Vienna, Austria, 15, 16, 19–21, 24, 25, 27 February 1979
‘I cannot recall a more satisfying version of either [Nos. 16 & 17] even from the much treasured sets by the Pro Arte and the Smetana Quartet. … their playing is a sheer delight; phrases breathe naturally, there is a delightful sense of give-and-take between the players, and above all, a sense of enjoyment. One feels this is real chamber music-playing and that one is eavesdropping on domestic music-making of the highest quality without any sense of concert-hall projection that mars so many of the more celebrated ensembles now before the public.’ Gramophone
‘The outer movements of KV 464 in A are very brilliant … the variations slow movement is played at exactly the right tempo. … The outer movements of KV 465 call for even more bravura, and they receive it in abundance from the Viennese players … the slow movement – and indeed the Minuet and Trio – are played with great eloquence and with faultless feeling for tempo.’ Gramophone